Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
MUC 152B
Course Title:
Contemporary Arranging: Settings for Originals and Covers II
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Develops skills in the tonal placement of sound required for orchestration and arrangement for various styles of music and sizes of musical groups. Focuses on individual instruments and the scoring of each section in the jazz idiom. Includes instrumental and vocal transposition, ranges, harmony, voicing, form, counterpoint, styles, introductions, modulations, interludes, endings, harmonic progression and experimental materials Must have prerequisite or instructor permission. Prerequisites: MUS 152A. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Material for this course will be presented in lecture format. Listening, both to live and recorded examples, will be more specific, focusing on octet arrangements, introductory and transitional areas, exact voicings, placement of brass and woodwinds, motivic threads, and tension-resolution tendencies. Student material will be directed toward thematic variation and background techniques.

  • Students will be able to write for trumpet and trombone.
  • Students will be able to write an eight staff score for the project ensemble.
  • Students will be able to block appoggiaturas, changing, and escape tones.
  • Students will be able to open blocks.
  • Students will be able to hear blocked, unison, and two/three part voicings.
  • Students will be able to set backgrounds, modulations, intros, and transitions.
  • Students will be able to write variations on primary melodies.
  • Students will be able to arrange a one to two minute piece for jazz octet.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Grading policy from first term (Music 152 A) will be continued here, this to include 90% attendance of classes. Criteria will include:

  • Bi-weekly listening tests alternating with...
  • Bi-weekly student compositions stressing variation and background
  • Mid-term: student presentation of recorded piece for octet
  • Quiz covering new chord types and non-harmonic tones
  • Final: An octet for three saxes, trumpet, trombone, and rhythm section to be performed and recorded during the last class session

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Writing for trombone-guest lecturer
  • Writing for trumpet-guest lecturer
  • Precision scoring for the rhythm section; eight staff precision scoring
  • Interlocking brass and woodwinds 9th chords, minor and dominant 11th chords, dominant 13th-spelling and blocking
  • Identifying and blocking appoggiaturas, changing, and escape tones
  • Blocking non-harmonic tones: the diatonic solution
  • Unison and unison octave review
  • $ Backgrounds: riff style and active
  • Further chord substitution: borrowed chords, secondary dominant and diminished 7th, tritones
  • Modulation (key change)
  • Intros, transitions, and endings
  • Setting up improvised solo space; appropriate backgrounds for these areas
  • Opening the block
  • Introducing the jazz waltz and the ballad
  • Listening critically to octet material (featuring Gil Evans' "Birth of the Cool")

Competencies and Skills:
The following skills are expected to successfully meet the minimum requirement of "C" or "Pass" for the course.

  • Aural recognition of brass/wind blocks, unisons, roles (fore- or background)
  • Blocking all chords thus far presented in closed and open positions
  • Blocking appoggiaturas, changing, and escape tones in closed/open positions
  • Writing passive, riff, and active backgrounds
  • Melodic variation in which the original melody can still be heard
  • Writing of intros, transitions, and endings appropriate to own arrangement
  • Completion of compositional and analytical tasks as per agreement with instructor